Friday, May 11, 2018

Today's Card Analysis: Soul Saver Dragon

The Japanese cards of the day for May 11th, 2018, are Soul Saver Dragon, Blaster Blade, and Dragonic Overlord. Blade and Overlord were previously revealed as the cover cards for the first Trial Decks of the Standard format, but Soul Saver Dragon is the final Triple Rare for the Royal Paladin clan out of V-Booster Set 01: UNITE! TEAM Q4.
ACT [Vanguard Circle]: [Cost: Soulblast 5] 6 of your units get Power +15000 until end of turn.
AUTO [Vanguard Circle]: When it attacks, you may Soulcharge 1.
Soul Saver Dragon's original debut in KeroKero Ace magazine.
When Soul Saver Dragon first debuted seven years ago in Onslaught of Dragon Souls, her power was unfathomable. Nothing was on the same scale, making 21-21-26 columns that demanded an overwhelming 50k shield for a one-trigger-to-pass defense. This was at a time when trigger units carried just 10k shield as a standard, and in the new format Soul Saver's soulblast has been scaled accordingly. Instead of giving 5k to three rearguards, the new Soul Saver gives +15 to six units including herself. In practical terms that means whatever shield the opponent would have to put down to guard an attack that turn, they would need to add 30k to that--equivalent to two Critical Triggers, three grade 1s, or a grade 1 and a Heal Trigger. With the standard shield of a crit now at 15k, and heals at 20, Soul Saver Dragon's ACT forces the opponent to put down a minimum of two more guardians per attack, or perfect guard.

However, this is not taking into account the impact that Force carries on the game. Like Alfred Early and Stardrive Dragon, Soul Saver can give a Force Marker to any of her units on-ride, granting it an additional 10k power. Stacking as few as two Force Markers from your initial Alfred ride and your Soul Saver turn can quickly snowball alongside Soul Saver into a game-finishing engine of destruction whose only real obstacle is the Protect Gift.

In the above field setup you can see how the numbers play out. Every unit has 15k from Soul Saver's skill, while Jauron has another 10k from his counterblast 1 and a Force Marker granting him another 10k; Blaster Blade meanwhile has a Force Marker and Wingal has another 5k from his own skill, making this field swing 68-51-63 across. In the previous format these numbers were much rarer, often requiring extensive setup as in Bloom decks, but they mean slightly less than what they appear to at face value due to the inflated shield found on new cards. It's equivalent to a Dragabyss turn in the previous format in terms of the number of cards it takes away from the opponent and the quality of guard at their disposal.

Soul Saver's soulblast 5 isn't nearly as hard to set up as it once was. In the BT02 format cardfighters had guaranteed setup from the Barcgal-Llew superior ride mechanism, as well as additional soulcharging options from Margal and Lohengrin. Out of BT01 we already have Pongal and Funnergal's soulcharges on top of SSD's own, with Pongal being searchable by Akane. You could potentially have that soul before you ever even ride to grade 3, and if you're optimizing your strategy by reriding for multiple Gifts then you'll certainly have the setup in place. What's more is that the new Soul Saver isn't once-per-turn, so as long as you have enough soul available you can pay the cost multiple times to rack up greater power like +60 to every column, or even +90.

This is the finisher that Royal Paladin was looking for, and right now she's the primary reason to play the clan just as Dragonic Overlord is for KagerŠ¾̄. That's not to say Soul Saver is flawless; she discourages use of Blaster Blade's retire skill, reducing him to a powerful ride target and 23k rearguard with Wingal. And while she does have an on-attack soulcharge to compensate for missing your Alfred ride, the card does virtually nothing outside of her designated role as a killing blow. That said, it's much easier to overstate SSD at the moment than to understate her, and it will likely take some time before we have a fully realistic handle on what her impact means for the game--if nothing else, Royal Paladin looks like a very solid long-term investment.

Soul Saver Dragon is designed by Itou Akira and illustrated by Aoji, who previously illustrated Spectral Blaster “Diablo” and Blaster Javelin Larousse.

The previous Japanese card of the day was Iron Killer.

V-Booster Set 01: UNITE! TEAM Q4 will launch in Japan May 25th, 2018, and in English June 22nd. It will be accompanied by sleeves based on Dragonic Overlord and Blaster Blade. V-Trial Deck 01: Sendou Aichi and V-TD02: Kai Toshiki launched in Japanese May 11th, 2018, and will launch in English June 8th.

The first Extra Booster set of Standard, V-EB01: The Destructive Roar will launch in Japan June 29th, 2018, and August 2nd for the English-speaking world. The accompanying new anime series, codenamed "Origin," began airing May 5th, with an English-subtitled simulcast on both YouTube and Crunchyroll.